We should remember that the BWC program is only one of many initiatives to improve policing in the District. It is rarely realistic to depend on a single policy or program to achieve desired outcomes. Policing is complicated, and while technology can support this complex work, it alone cannot achieve our public safety goals.
As we move forward, there are a number of questions we’re working to answer, which will help inform how to further optimize performance of the BWC program. Future research may include:
- Whether the implementation of the BWC program affected public perceptions of the legitimacy of the police and court systems. We do not yet have survey data to speak to this question.
- How BWC footage is used in the courts. We made preliminary measurements related to certain judicial outcomes, but our analyses were restricted to administrative data available to MPD. The courts have more detailed data about how cases are resolved, which could be used to enrich our understanding.
- Additional applications of BWC technology. For example, MPD is using BWC footage to inform updates to its training and policies, offering the department a way to be more agile and responsive in its daily operations. In addition, MPD is integrating BWC footage directly into its training curricula, showing recruits at the Metropolitan Police Academy and officers in annual training sessions videos as part of classroom training.
This study is part of our broader commitment to evidence-based policy-making and governance. As we design and adopt new policies and programs, it’s critical to measure outcomes in order to understand what works—and what doesn’t—so that we can continuously identify ways to improve how District government is serving its residents.
Not only is it important for us to do these evaluations, it is important to share our findings back with the community. We are excited about this new and innovative way to open up government and promote transparency here in DC.